Oklahoma Indian Gaming Chairman Challenges Gaming Compacts

As revealed by the Associated Press, Matthew Morgan, Chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, instantly challenged new gaming compacts signed with two Oklahoma Indian tribes last week concerning their legal status.

Although the compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians were identified by Governor Kevin Stitt as promoting economic growth, Morgan said they are neither legal nor helpful.

Morgan quoted by AP as saying: “We agree with Oklahoma’s legislative leadership and Attorney General Mike Hunter that Governor Kevin Stitt unilaterally entering into new gaming agreements with tribal nations violates state law.”

He added that legislative leaders and Oklahoma’s attorney general are currently challenging the legality of the compacts the governor had previously signed with two other tribes before the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

According to Morgan, the acts of Governor Stitt have caused needless turmoil, expensive lawsuits and wasted the money of the state.

The Kialegee Tribal Town agreement has agreed to create a casino in eastern Oklahoma County on land east of Choctaw Highway, within a mile of a state or federal highway or turnpike with Stitt green lights the tribe. Additionally , the United Keetoowah Band agreement requires the band to develop and run a Logan County casino within a mile of a state or federal highway, or turnpike.

The compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and United Keetoowah Band vary substantially from those previously signed by the governor with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe according to the AP report.

Morgan ‘s opinion is that Stitt is attempting to deliver things outside of his authority “in terms of crafting gaming compacts outside the model compact process authorised by state law.” Moreover, the tribes are seeking to push outside their jurisdictional limits, he says.

Whatever the current debate in Oklahoma, the tribal gaming compacts also require official approval from the US Interior Department.